Promoting Employment, Engagement, and Empowerment for the Next Generation of Community Leaders

Authors: Pasama Cole-Kweli*, The Field Museum
Topics: Applied Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology, Rural Geography
Keywords: community-based conservation, youth engagement, cultural geography, community relations, education
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom C, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Pembroke Township, a rural, historically black community in Illinois is known for its incredible biodiversity and deep economic disparity. On the surface, increasing tension between residents, conservationists, and local officials over conservation land was publicized as a primary concern. However, during the implementation of the quality of life process, residents expressed many concerns that impeded their well-being, including the impact that lack of education/employment opportunities and out-migration of youth has had on the community. The Field Museum Pembroke Research Team worked with community members and conservationist to plan and implement a pilot program for youth as an immediate response to these issues. This paper explores the application and effectiveness of solutions in Pembroke Township designed to stimulate economic opportunity, connect youth to their environment, and bridge the gap between the community and conservation stakeholders.

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